Looking Back at 2020
This past year threw us all for a loop. No one planned on a global pandemic, closed schools, or crippling business restrictions. But as the saying goes you are not defined by your circumstances, but what you do despite them, and we’re proud of the way Macro Connect stepped up to meet these challenges head-on. Going above and beyond to meet our clients’ needs and ensuring they weren’t alone when it mattered most. That’s part of what makes Macro Connect so special. Macro Connect employees embody our Core Values:
- Honorable: we do what we say
- Inquisitive: life-long learners
- Relentlessly Positive: because attitude matters
- Tenacious: when things get tough, we get tougher
- Meticulous: attention to detail is paramount
- Community-Minded: a rising tide raises all ships!
Together, we delivered on our promise to maintain best-in-class service for all of our clients, even in the face of extreme challenges.
Being There When It Mattered Most
Meeting the challenges of every-day technology issues is a big enough task. The magnitude of challenges we all faced in 2020, was enough to paralyze even a sophisticated organization. From the beginning of the pandemic, we knew building proximity to our clients would be crucial in helping them address technology shortages, a changing legislature, school operations, and the human support we all needed to get through tough times. This evolved into holding critical “hybrid roundtable meetings” to work in close proximity with our clients and advise them on Hybrid learning solutions and best practices and weekly standing advisory meetings. Some of these conversations gave birth to innovative ideas like Robot Teachers, where we built custom Virtual Presence Devices to maintain a classroom-like environment while keeping teachers safe in a remote location. Others were based on software recommendations like GoGuardian, which helps teachers keep their students focused and on task whether they’re in the classroom or learning from home.
Our vCIO team also spent hundreds of hours on the phone with clients between weekly meetings and ad hoc support calls. From getting inventory numbers and preparing devices, to demonstrating equipment or software and reviewing procedures and processes, we worked hard to exceed the expectations of the students, teachers and teams counting on us.
Device Sourcing & Roll-Out
When schools and business offices closed, students and employees were sent home to learn and work remotely. Some already had the laptops, tablets, and other computer equipment they needed. Sadly, a great many did not. This extremely sudden explosion of demand for devices caused massive shortages globally, with suppliers unable to keep up.
Macro Connect took immediate action to help address this gap. Sprouting from initial conversations with clients we forged relationships with recycled and refurbished device distributors like Tech Defenders and computer conversion software developers like Neverware. We also made sure our clients were in the know on grant and state-funded programs like Connected Futures. Quick action helped us get higher in line to receive devices which we then turned around in record time. In total, we delivered over 3,000 devices, some within 24 hours, to make sure they got into the hands of the students and staff who needed them so urgently.
There is still an estimated shortage of over 1,000,000 devices nationwide. To help overcome that shortage, Macro Connect is still hard at work looking for new partners, researching grant programs, and exploring additional strategies to get devices in the hands of those who need them most.
Despite the huge external challenges, Macro Connect managed to uphold its internal goals to push ourselves forward and become an even better technology partner. We overhauled our entire Customer Relationship Management system so that we could better keep track of our responsibilities and relationships (not recommended for future pandemics!). When it comes to goals, we are on track to complete over 90% of our internal company goals which we call Rocks. We want our clients to know that when we say we’ll do something for them – we mean it- and that starts internally. Our leadership team has also identified and in the process of purchasing a new, bigger office space that we plan to renovate and relocate to in the future.
As a values-driven business, we believe that one of our primary duties is to provide for the individuals who work for us, so that they can keep food on the table for their own families. We are happy to say that we were able to make payroll every single week of the pandemic and did not have to make the tough decision of laying anyone off. In fact, Macro Connect was able to sustainably add almost 10 new employees during the pandemic!
With all this growth, we also exerted a great deal of effort toward preserving and building our strong company culture, including a recognition system. This year we implemented a company-wide tool called Assembly, which is a recognition and engagement platform. This allowed our team to stay in touch, and recognize quiet heroic acts throughout the pandemic based on our core values. We found saying thank you, especially during a pandemic, meant a lot more than we could have ever imagined.
Accomplishing all these professional goals is exciting, but we’ve never forgotten about our personal commitment to the community. Each Macro Connect employee is required to select a charity and donate at least 4 hours of time each month during a normal year. At the end of 2020, we’re very proud to say that every single one of our team members have found a way to serve our community this year.
Looking Forward into 2021
There are still many challenges ahead. The pandemic is still raging worldwide, taking lives, keeping many students at home, and preventing many from earning a living. With two vaccines approved, we look forward to increased protection against the virus so that schools and businesses can re-open. Until then, we are committed to pushing for the needs of our clients so that students and employees can get the technology they need to make the best of a difficult situation. We hope our next annual review will look back on a year of even greater success for everyone!